Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: ACN Accuses FG of Diverting SURE-P Funds

THE Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, weekend, accused the Federal Government of diverting the fund of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, set up in the wake of last year's partial removal of fuel subsidy.

National Publicity Secretary of ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, claimed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, controlled Federal Government had been using part of the funds meant for programme to empower the party's cronies ahead of the 2015 general elections, instead of using it for the benefit of all Nigerians.

ACN warned SURE-P's head, Dr. Christopher Kolade, a respectable citizen, known for his transparency and integrity, not to allow the skewed and partisan implementation of the programme by the FG to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.

"Ordinarily, SURE-P seems laudable as it is aimed at the empowerment of the citizens through job creation and infrastructure development, but in reality, PDP apparachiks have hijacked it for the purpose of empowering only the party's members.

They have created State Implementation Committees, SICs, to handle the disbursement of SURE-P cash to party members as a strategy to arm them with a war chest ahead of the 2015 elections.

"To make matters worse, the PDP is denigrating the traditional institution by using traditional rulers in some states as the conduit to distribute SURE-P funds, ostensibly to empower Nigerians but in reality to put money in the pockets of PDP supporters," ACN said.

The party contended that only bodies created by law could disburse funds accruing to the Federation Account, and warned that since the SICs were not recognized by the law, it was an illegal body and its operations violate the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

'ACN continued:, 'Money being spent on fuel subsidies was in the past taken out of the Federation Account, hence its is money that would have been divided among the three tiers of government in accordance with the revenue allocation formula.

"But by virtue of the SURE-P arrangement, the funds are now available for the FG to share freely by approving contracts, programmes and activities in accordance with its whims and caprices. The PDP-controlled FG has now seen the accruing huge funds as money which may well be spent with special favour for its cronies and party affiliates.

But South-West PDP has described as mischievous and laughable, ACN's claim that the SURE-P has been hijacked by the PDP to empower only the party's members, saying; "it is politics taken to a bizarre level and we hope these characters in the ACN won't criticise God for creating human being in His own image one day.

"Instead of making noise on the implementation of the Federal Government's SURE-P, the party should rather account for over the N10 billion Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Edo's share SURE-P fund."

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